Mac TA 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
The post-Avi Nimni era began in embarrassing fashion on Wednesday night, with
Maccabi Tel Aviv losing 4-1 to Maccabi Petah Tikva in the Toto Cup semifinals at
National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
Interim coach Itzik Ovadia selected a
strong lineup in what may well prove to be his only match in charge of the
yellow- and-blue, after announcing he would follow sacked manager Nimni and
coach Yossi Mizrahi out of the club once a replacement is
However, despite taking an early lead, Tel Aviv was outplayed by
its opponent and fell to yet another humbling defeat against a team it was
expected to beat.
The search for Nimni’s replacement continued on
Wednesday and Tel Aviv will be hoping it has a new coach in place by the time it
plays Betar Jerusalem on Monday night.
“It is never easy to be in this
kind of situation,” Maccabi midfielder Gal Alberman said. “We should do our job
on the field regardless of who is coaching us. We bare some of the
responsibility for what happened and there is no reason we should be playing
We all hope a new coach will arrive as soon as
Petah Tikva will face Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the final of
Israel’s second cup competition on January 18, after Ran Ben-Shimon’s men
defeated Bnei Yehuda 5-4 on penalties after extra time ended in a 1-1
Oz Rali gave Bnei Yehuda the lead in the 26th minute and Dror
Kashtan’s men would go on to squander numerous chances that could have secured
Seconds before the final whistle, substitute Shlomi Avisdris
made Bnei Yehuda pay, scoring the equalizer deep into stoppage time.
Yehuda had a golden opportunity to take a crucial lead in the 113th minute, but
Asi Baldut missed his penalty and the match would have to be decided on spot
After both teams scored their first four penalties, Pedro Galvan
missed Bnei Yehuda’s fifth and Avisdris ensured he would be the hero of the day
by completing the victory with a successful shot.
Maccabi Tel Aviv got
the second semi of the night off to an ideal start, with Dimitar Rangelov
scoring from the edge of the area in the sixth minute.
Tikva would quickly seize control of the encounter and claim a one-sided
Tal Ben-Haim rounded goalkeeper Liran Strauber in the 31st minute to
tie the score and Petah Tikva took the lead eight minutes into the second half
through Sebastian Sansoni.
In the 65th minute, Dovev Gabay scored seconds
after coming on as a substitute, and Tel Aviv’s misery was compounded a minute
later when Djibril Sidibe was sent off before Gabay completed the scoring eight
minutes from time.